(Photo: Kinnard Farms)

In an effort to teach area students the importance of protecting and preserving our environment, the University of Wisconsin-Extension of Kewaunee County will be hosting the annual Conservation Tour for Kewaunee County schools on Wednesday, May 16.

This event, which has been held annually since the 1990s, educates approximately 275 sixth-grade students from Kewaunee County public and parochial schools. The students will exposed to monitoring the fish population, wildlife habitats, benefits of trees, soil management, agricultural environmental regulations, wind energy and plastics recycling technology.

“This is a great educational opportunity that showcases some of what our community is doing locally in sustaining the environment,” said Aerica Bjurstrom, UW-Extension agricultural agent. “We would love to see these kids apply the lessons learned now, in the future and keep the momentum going for Kewaunee County.”

The six-hour Conservation Tour includes six stops across Kewaunee County. The event is supported by the C.D. “Buzz” Besadny Fish Hatchery, Wagner Tree Farm, Kinnard Farms, the UW-Discovery Farm Project, Rosiere Wind Farm hosted by Madison Gas & Electric, and Al and Debbie Guilette as well as N.E.W. Plastics.

Students from Kewaunee, Luxemburg-Casco, Algoma, and St. Mary Algoma are planning to attend.

The stops, as described by the county:


#1 Anadromous Fish Collection Station (N3884 Ransom Moore Lane, Kewaunee) – This facility is the major fish egg collection station operated by DNR in Wisconsin to collect the eggs of spawning fish from Lake Michigan. Staff at this facility also collect eggs from lake sturgeon and Great Lakes Spotted musky to hatch and rear fingerling size fish for stocking into nearby waters. This stop will focus on the history of the Great Lakes Fishery, the importance of fish propagation and stocking and the lake sturgeon restoration program. Additionally, the importance of regional land use, best management practices and their effects on local water resources and fisheries may also be discussed.

#2 N.E.W Plastics (112 Fourth St., Luxemburg) – N.E.W. Plastics Corp. manufactures containers, plastic lumber, and components made from other prime and recycled material. The company’s annual sales are $51 million and growing. Privately held and family-owned for two generations, N.E.W. Plastics Corp. has been a leading innovator in plastics and recycling technology for more than three decades. The company has manufacturing capacity to convert more than 25 million pounds of discarded plastic into useful, environmentally friendly products annually.

#3 Soil Pit – Kinnard Farms Inc. (N8200 Tamarack Road, Casco) Soil pits are an excellent way to understand how management of our soil on the surface impacts the soil’s health and productivity. Kinnard Farms will host a soil pit for the group to experience first-hand what can be learned by paying attention and listening to our soil. Students will have the opportunity to walk through the soil pit and hear an actual soil Doctor explain farming practices that create healthy soil, and why those practices are so vital in protecting our precious soil and water resources.

#4 UW-Discovery Farm Project (111 County Road S, Algoma) The Discovery Farm project provides a unique opportunity for agriculture producers to work with the university and government to find realistic ways farmers can comply with environmental regulations. The Discovery Farm concept allows producers to work hand-in-hand with government and the university by conducting research on their own farms. The research takes into account the whole farming system and how complying with a regulation would affect the farm’s economic viability. The Wisconsin Discovery Farms project works with privately-owned farms to find the most economical and effective ways of complying with environmental regulations. This is done through evaluating Best Management Practices (BMPs) intended to reduce or improve farms’ environmental impact. Discovery Farms is working to find the most effective and economical BMPs for producers throughout Wisconsin to utilize in their operations. Through Discovery Farms research, future agricultural environmental regulations can be based on sound science, creating a healthier environment and a healthier economy.

#5 Windmills (near the corner of County Road X and Tamarack Road ) The Rosiere Wind Energy project includes 17 turbines owned and operated by Madison Gas and Electric Company located on land leased from 7 land owners in the Town of Lincoln. The wind turbines have been producing electricity since June 1999. At maximum output, the turbines can produce about 24 million-kilowatt hours of electricity, enough for 3,500 homes. The turbines save enough coal each year to fill a train more than 1.5 miles long. By not burning coal, about 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a global warming gas, is saved. This is about the same amount of carbon dioxide removed by a 3,360-acre forest annually.

#6 Wagner’s Managed Forest Land (E1934 County Road S, Luxemburg) Wagner Tree Farm was purchased in 1992 by Chuck and Monica Wagner. They started planting trees on the property the next spring. Over the years since then we have planted over 21,000 seedlings of many different kinds of native tree species. They have planted many varieties of trees to encourage wildlife habitat and better water quality and drainage. The Wagners also have three wood duck houses on ponds that are used every year to raise wood ducks.